Did Bloggers Doom 'M:i:III'?
Law enforcement officials stand near a jet bridge next to a passenger jet on the tarmac at Bangor International Airport, in Bangor, Me., Tuesday, May 22, 2012. The plane was diverted to Maine during its flight from France to Charlotte. Officials briefed on the incident say a French passenger passed a note to a flight attendant saying she had a surgically implanted device. (AP Photo/Bangor Daily News, Kevin Bennett) / Kevin Bennett
Did bloggers hurt the box office debut of "Mission: Impossible III"? Some think so. Plus, the government offers some employees handy tips on how to address progress in Iraq while talking about agriculture...and liberal bloggers are loving it. And, check out Neil Young's blog below.
Nicole Kidman may still love Tom Cruise, but the same can't be said of some bloggers. "Mission: Impossible III" debuted with $48.025 million, well below industry expectations and almost $10 million lower than the franchise's previous installment, according to studio estimates. Industry analysts had expected the movie to open in the range of "Mission: Impossible II," which debuted with $57.8 million in 2000, and "War of the Worlds," which premiered with $64.9 million over the July 4 weekend last year.
The popular gossip blog Perezhilton.com proclaimed, "You read it here first. Mission: Impossible III underwhelms at the box office." Perezhilton.com had encouraged "concerned Americans" to boycott the movie. "If you believe that good should triumph over evil...If you believe in the power of the people, democracy, free speech and popping pills...Then join the campaign!," Perezhilton.com wrote. Instead of viewing "Mission: Impossible III," he encouraged readers to support Hoot, which also opened last weekend.
And other bloggers were not far behind. One blogger drummed up support for an online boycott petition and another blogger created an entire MySpace profile urging a boycott.
Tom at The Last Reel was on board. "I plan to go ahead with my theatrical boycott of the film anyway, sending a very small message to Tom Cruise, that regardless of how good the movie may be---his shenanigans of late do have consequences," he wrote.
Alley Cat had no plans to see it either. "I am sure that it's going to be a great movie. But I am 'voting' with my wallet and Tom Cruise is not going to get anymore of my $$," Alley Cat blogged. "This boycott applies to Risky Business, Top Gun, Jerry McGuire, previous MIs and a slew of other movies that I would normally watch again. If it weren't for viewers like me, he wouldn't have the visibility and celebrity power he has today to broadcast his views/beliefs."
Even political blogger Andrew Sullivan encouraged a boycott of the movie, based on claims that Cruise allegedly forced Comedy Central to censor a South Park episode about scientologists. "Make sure you don't go see Paramount's 'Mission: Impossible III,' Cruise's upcoming movie," Sullivan blogged. "I know you weren't going to see it anyway. But now any money you spend on this movie is a blow against freedom of speech. Boycott it. Tell your friends to boycott it."
But surely there are some who won't be able to stay away from the much-hyped film, right? Well, Dominique Francon has a unique way to stick it to the star. "If it is M:i:III that you want to see, then see it. You shouldn't change anything you want to do for him," she writes on VoxPopulix. "But when you buy your ticket this weekend, pay your money to any other film playing and sneak into his film. Just ask for a different film. Then, he doesn't get the money."
Crops, Trade, Bird Flu...and Iraq Progress
About 60 career appointees at the Department of Agriculture were rather surprised to receive an e-mail detailing instructions to include Bush administration talking points about the president's "strategy for victory in Iraq" in every speech they give for the department, Washington Post columnist Al Kamen reported.
"The President has requested that all members of his cabinet and sub-cabinet incorporate message points on the Global War on Terror into speeches, including specific examples of what each agency is doing to aid the reconstruction of Iraq," said the May 2 e-mail from a USDA speechwriter.
If you're wondering how to discuss Iraq amid a speech about agricultural issues, the White House offers some handy tips as well, Kamen notes. For example, they suggest this sample introduction:
"Several topics I'd like to talk about today -- Farm Bill, trade with Japan, WTO, avian flu...but before I do, let me touch on a subject people always ask about...progress in Iraq."
And if officials need to speak about the productivity of American agriculture, they can transition into Iraq this way:
"But, before I begin discussing the productivity of American agriculture, I'd like to take a moment to talk about a nation that is just beginning to build its own agricultural production. Iraq is part of the 'fertile crescent' of Mesopotamia. It is there, in around 8,500 to 8,000 B.C., that mankind first domesticated wheat...."
The e-mail (and column about it) was a gift to liberal bloggers.
"It would be hilarious if it wasn't so scary at the same time. It's propaganda at its finest...or most absurd. Can't decide which," Musings of the Great Eric blogs.
Jamie at Stygius thinks "If there's any way to undermine your own agriculture policy, it's got to be trying to link it to Bush's Iraq adventure."
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